Valuing geometric simplicity and economy of means, Bo Bardi designed the Poltrona Bowl Chair with a steel frame and a stackable seat containing two circular cushions. The shell on the metal ring can be adjusted in all directions to suit the desired position of the sitter. Bo Bardi, who emigrated from Italy to Brazil in 1946, played a lead role in advancing modernist architecture and design in postwar Brazil. Among the landmark buildings she designed was her São Paulo home, the Glass House (Casa de Vidro, 1951), which she furnished with Poltrona Bowl Chairs.
Gallery label from Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, April 19 - August 13, 2017.
Lina Bo Bardi’s unique vision of design and architecture called for a “process of humanization of art.” With this in mind, she designed the Bowl chair “in relation with the proportions of the human body.” Geometric and moveable, it consists of a four-legged steel frame and a semi-spherical seat that can change its reclining angle to suit the desired position of the sitter. In 1953, the chair was featured on the cover of the US magazine Interiors—with the designer modeling as sitter—where its description as a “womblike” “cuddle bowl” emphasized the human measure underlying this furniture design.
Gallery label from Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift, October 21, 2019–March 14, 2020